‘Tardis’ V Shop created by trio of design groups

A three-way collaboration between design groups Jervis Hegarty Losasso, Start Design and, in the latter stages, Circus, has created V Shop, Virgin’s new high street store.

The store’s TMT (telecommunications, media and technology) format combines traditional music and entertainment retailing with high technology to create a “tardis effect” in a compact environment. The format will initially be applied to 100 Our Price stores by November. It may replace remaining Our Price stores if successful.

JHL developed the original concept from its work with Virgin Mobile, and designed the new store interior. This marries a typical retail space with listening posts and on-line Fab – Find and Buy – “kiosks” where consumers can search for and purchase products from selected websites through Virgin.com.

The store is designed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Murray Jervis, JHL director, says: “To communicate the hi-tech nature of V Shop, we used contemporary materials and colours, while maintaining an inviting atmosphere.”

The V Shop icon – a red, two-way bubble on a purple lozenge – has been designed by London group Start, inspired by the Virgin roundel, Virgin Mobile’s pebble-shaped icon and the existing Our Price ellipse. The consultancy has also created signage, in-store displays, point-of-sale material and print work. Start managing director Mike Curtis says it translated design ideas from Virgin Mobile into a retail format.

“Music and entertainment stores are traditionally cluttered with too much product,” says V Shop head of marketing Brian Waring. “We are enabling consumers to buy CDs, DVDs, videos and MP3 files either in-store, or on-line through our kiosks.”

Circus refined the product mix in-store and V Shop’s positioning in the retail market.

Conran Design Group was appointed by Our Price in August 1999 to develop a new retail format for its 220 stores. Despite redesigning six stores by Christmas 1999, it was not considered for the V Shop concepts.

Neil Boote, commercial director, V Shop, says: “We wanted fresh eyes for V Shop. Start Design had worked previously for Virgin Mobile, and V Shop is an extension of that brand.”

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